On May 1, 2020, the Ontario government announced that a select few businesses will be allowed to re-open on Monday, May 4, 2020 but with strict public health and safety measures in place. Most of these businesses are seasonal businesses and some essential construction projects.
This announcement follows from the release earlier this week of the three-staged Framework for Reopening our Province which included stage 1 to reopen certain Ontario businesses gradually under strict guidelines in order to allow the economy to return to some sense of normalcy while continuing to safeguard the public and limit health risks.
The following is the list of businesses that may be re-opened on May 4, 2020:
- Garden centres and nurseries – but they are restricted to alternative methods of sale such as curbside pickup and delivery;
- Lawn care services and landscaping services;
- Essential construction projects including shipping and logistics; broadband, telecommunications and digital infrastructure; any other project that supports the improved delivery of goods and services; municipal projects; colleges and universities; child care centres; schools; and site preparation, excavation, and servicing for institutional, commercial, industrial and residential development;
- Automated and self-service car washes;
- Auto dealerships – but public access to place of business by appointment only;
- Golf courses – but only to prepare for future public opening, but no public access;
- Marinas – but only to prepare for the recreational boating season including repairing or servicing boats or other watercraft, and placing boats or other watercraft in the water. There continues to be no public access.
The Order mandating the closure of non-essential businesses is currently in place until May 19, 2020 (Updated: May 7, 2020). Unfortunately, it is expected the Order will be extended for a further period but with more announcements that certain other businesses will be permitted to re-open under strict guidelines.
In the meanwhile, small businesses that are struggling to pay their bills and survive during the COVID-19 crisis will have to endure and attempt to obtain relief through various means. Our summary of small business relief resources is found here.
If you require legal advice or legal representation in respect to small business issues such as contract disputes, frustration and force majeure clauses, small business relief resources, commercial rent relief, urgent commercial lease or commercial list matters, event cancellation, urgent real estate matters, commercial tenancy issues including rent deferral, corporate governance, moving litigation to arbitration, franchise disclosure obligations, enforcement matters, wills and powers of attorney, please contact us for an initial consultation. Our lawyers have expertise and experience in small business litigation matters and can assist you in resolving your legal issues and finding a practical solution in these difficult times.